This was on sale in Argentina as a rebadged Chevrolet Celta, which was in turn based on the second iteration of what we know as the Vauxhall Corsa. So it was hardly blessed with the most prodigious gene pool. Calling this 1.0-litre death trap ‘fun’ though (even Latin NCAP rated it as “highly unsafe”) was a real insult to intelligence – unless your idea of fun includes activities such as DIY appendectomy. See also the Skoda Felicia Fun: so-named because everyone will laugh if you drive one.
Fiat Uno Start
Having owned this Fiat special edition, the endless hours spent in the freezing cold with a can of WD40 and dwindling reserves of patience, listening to the death throes of the starter motor while going resolutely nowhere, pay tribute to the fundamental incompatibility of the name with the reality of the ownership experience.
We’re talking about the ‘poor man’s Porsche’ here, not the modern car (although even that is hardly going to give the Nordschleife any sleepless nights). Instead, the quickest of the 1980s Rapids took about 15 seconds to accelerate from 0-60mph and ran out of interest at 95mph (although you’d have to be brave, with plenty of time on your hands, to attempt that). The only genuine way you could describe it as rapid was in comparison to a dumper truck.
Fiat 500 Diesel
Nothing wrong with this special edition baby Fiat itself, which gained a cool metallic green paint job, special alloy wheels, louvered metallic detailing, and – note this point carefully – several prominent ‘Diesel’ badges to celebrate its partnership with the Italian jeans manufacturer. Just don’t do what I did. It actually needs petrol to make it go.
The only thing even vaguely cool about the Austin Cambridge is that it’s slightly related to the A35 van, whose most famous celebrity owner was James Hunt. But what makes the Cambridge a particularly inappropriately named vehicle is the fact that it was actually produced in Oxford, from 1954 to 1971. With the fierce rivalry that exists between the two university towns, this is probably why they made it deliberately awful.
In its various forms, the Vauxhall Victor was manufactured for 21 years. During that time, it never won a single thing of note. Although it was probably snapped up by men called Victor: a marketing strategy adopted less successfully by Nissan when they launched the Cedric many years later…
As any musician or speaker of Italian will know, ‘allegro’ means happy or lively. Neither of these are feelings generally associated with driving the Allegro: especially the truly hideous Vanden Plas edition with its oppressive fake mahogany and chocolate brown velour.
Honda HR-V Joy Machine
While a ‘Joy Machine’ sounds like the sort of device that might be purchased from a disreputable shop in Soho, the reality is that it was just a distinctly average SUV, which Honda thought they could sell to a younger demographic by dint of aggressively cheerful marketing. So HR-V stands for ‘Hi-Rider Revolutionary Vehicle’, while the Joy Machine moniker was a toned down version of the original concept called: “Wild and Joyfull J-WJ” (sic). Nobody was fooled.
Any other suggestions of cars whose names bear absolutely no resemblance to what they are actually like? Comments below, please...